FootballScoop is proud to announce that Phil Longo is the 2016 FootballScoop FCS Coordinator of the Year presented by ProGrass as selected by prior winners.
Sam Houston State blazed through an undefeated regular season and reached the FCS Quarterfinals thanks to an offense that ranked among the very best in all of college football.
The Bearkats led FCS in scoring at 49.5 points per game, topping the 50-point barrier seven times in their 13 games and busting through the 60-point mark three times -- plus two games in which Sam Houston State scored 59 points.
Sam Houston State was also best in class at moving the football. They led FCS with 547.3 yards per game, ranked second in passing offense at 368.3 yards per game and averaged 179 rushing yards per game.
Beyond simply putting up bulk stats, Sam Houston State was also efficient in its chances to move the ball. Longo's offense led FCS with a 7.17 yards per play average, placed 16th in FCS with a 5.21 yards per carry average and ranked fourth in FCS with a 165.68 pass efficiency rating -- averaging 8.77 yards per attempt on 546 pass attempts.
Sam Houston State also placed third nationally in first downs and its 46.5 percent third down conversion rate ranked 11th in FCS. Their 80.3 percent rate converting red zone trips into touchdowns also led the nation.
In total, Sam Houston State put together an offensive masterpiece consisting of 993 plays for 7,115 yards with 89 touchdowns and 336 first downs achieved.
Quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe was named a First Team AP All-American for a season in which he connected on 315-of-503 passes (62.6 percent) for a school-record 4,602 yards (9.15 per attempt) with 57 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. Briscoe was also named the Southland Conference's Player of the Year, while wide receiver Yedidah Louis was named the conference's Offensive Player of the Year and fellow wideout Nathan Stewart earned Freshman Player of the Year honors. Center Bridge Blount was named the Southland's Offensive Lineman of the Year. Additionally, running back Corey Avery and right guard Tyler Tezeno garnered First Team All-Southland honors, while running back Remus Bulmer, wide receiver Davion Davis and left tackle Curtis Riser received Second Team All-Southland accolades. In all, a total of nine Bearkats offensive starters posted All-Southland honors.
Longo played running back at Rowan University from 1988-91 and joined the coaching ranks at the high school level, culminating in a run where he became the winningest head coach in the history of Parsippany Hills High School in New Jersey. Longo's first college job came as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at William Paterson University and eventually moved on to LaSalle, where as head coach he set 19 offensive school records, Minnesota-Duluth, Southern Illinois, Youngstown State, Slippery Rock and then Sam Houston State.
He was named the offensive coordinator at Ole Miss on Dec. 16.
"We explored every name for this position, but Phil has been on my radar for a long time and it was clear that he is the man that can take our offense from good to great,” Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said upon Longo's hiring. "Over the past three years, he has authored one of the most prolific and innovative offenses in all divisions of college football. Specifically, his units have excelled in three key areas that we need to address — rushing offense, third down efficiency and red zone success. From Chip Kelly to Joe Moorhead, we have seen offensive coordinators make successful transitions from FCS to FBS, and I expect Phil to continue that trend."
The FootballScoop Coaches of the Year awards presented by ProGrass are the only set of awards that recognize the most outstanding position coaches in college football. The finalists (David Blackwell/Brandon Hall [Jacksonville State], Billy Crocker [Villanova], Eric Dooley [Grambling], Eric Eidsness [South Dakota State], Steve Irvin [San Diego], Mickey Matthews [Coastal Carolina] and Longo) were selected based off of nominations by coaches, athletic directors, and athletic department personnel. The prior winners selected this year's winner.
Longo will receive his award and be recognized at an event at the AFCA Convention in January.
Previous winners of the FCS Coordinator of the Year award are Heishman Northern (Prairie View A&M, 2008), Bob Shoop (William & Mary, 2009), Nick Rapone (Delaware, 2010), Scott Stoker (Sam Houston State, 2011), Chris Klieman (North Dakota State, 2012), Sterlin Gilbert (Eastern Illinois, 2013), Don Bailey (Idaho State, 2014) and Lyle Hemphill (Stony Brook, 2015).
1st Nationally - Total Offense
1st Nationally - Scoring Offense
1st Nationally - Red Zone TDs
2nd Nationally - Passing Offense
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